The government has today announced a new cash injection for councils to clampdown on landlords whose properties fail to meet energy efficiency standards.
Some 59 local authorities are to get extra funding - one is to use the money to get a drone to spy on rental properties' thermal efficiency.
Since April last year privately rented homes must meet a minimum energy performance rating of EPC Band E, making it illegal to rent out homes below that unless landlords have a limited exemption.
Landlords caught failing to fulfil their obligations can be fined of up to £5,000 per property and per breach.
The £4.3m of extra funding from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to councils across the country is designed to support them make an extra 100,000 ‘engagements’ with the most difficult to reach landlords with the worst performing properties.
The money will fund local radio ads, roadshows and workshops with landlords to raise awareness of the rules, free property surveys, as well as enhanced and targeted mail reminders and translation services to reach those not currently complying.
One council says it will invest in a drone with thermal imaging capacity to help with on the ground inspections.
Business and Energy Minister, Lord Callanan, says: “This funding will help councils to support landlords with these important energy efficiency changes, but also enforce these standards, helping tackle fuel poverty and ensuring everyone can live in a warm home with fair energy bills.
“Heating our homes and buildings makes up almost a third of all carbon emissions, meaning raising the energy efficiency of our properties is something we all have to contribute to help us build back greener and reach our world leading climate ambitions."
In support of the move, the deputy leader of Darlington Council, Jonathan Dulston, says: “We know that the vast majority of private landlords stick to the rules and provide good accommodation, but we are determined to crack down on rogue landlords who do not care about their tenants or the standard of their properties.
“These new powers will improve the energy efficiency standards of private rented homes both here in Darlington and across the country, which will in turn improve residents’ health, ensuring people do not live in homes that are cold and damp.”
The government has also announced a £10m fund for home owners - including landlords - “to develop world-class energy efficiency products and green finance services.”
The government says this initiative, called the Green Home Finance programme - will “equip homeowners with new options to decarbonise their homes in a more cost-effective way.”
This is likely to include piloting new versions of heat pumps, glazing and insulation, as well as ‘green finance services’ such as green mortgages and green equity releases.
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